Periodicamente, o ,Kinship responde a problemas que afetam os Adventistas LGBTIQ. Acreditamos que nossas vozes são importantes e que elas devem ser levadas em consideração.

O Kinship Adventista do Sétimo Dia congratula-se com a oportunidade de compartilhar nossas perspectivas sobre questões que afetam a comunidade LGBTIQ, especificamente relacionada à conexão entre ela e a comunidade Adventista do Sétimo Dia.

Entre em contato conosco informando suas necessidades responderemos em tempo hábil.

 International Media Inquiries (Consultas Midias Internacionais)
PO Box 244, Orinda, CA 94563-0244 USA


A Igreja Adentista do Sétimo Dia é uma denominação cristã protestante distinta pela observância do sábado, o sétimo dia da semana em calendários cristãos e judeus, como Sabat (um dia de descanso) e pela sua ênfase na Inminente Segunda Vinda (advento ) de Jesus Cristo.

A denominação surgiu do movimento Millerista nos Estados Unidos em meados do século 19 e foi formalmente estabelecida em 1863. Entre os seus fundadores estava Ellen G. White, cujos extensos escritos ainda são mantidos em alta consideração pela igreja.

Grande parte da teologia da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia corresponde aos ensinos cristãos protestantes comuns, como a Trindade e a infalibilidade das Escrituras. A igreja é conhecida por sua ênfase na dieta e na saúde, na compreensão "holistica" da pessoa, na promoção da liberdade religiosa e princípios conservadores e estilo de vida.

A igreja mundial é governada por uma Conferência Geral, com regiões menores administradas por divisões, uniões e associações locais. Atualmente, possui como membros batizados, cerca de 19,1 milhões de pessoas por todo o mundo. Diversidade étnica, cultural e mantém uma presença missionária em mais de 200 países e territórios.

FEBRUARY 2019 RE: We understand. We share your frustration.

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On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted in a special session of the General Conference (their top legislative body) to adopt the “Traditional Plan” which sought to strengthen enforcement of the denomination’s homosexuality prohibitions. It was passed by a vote of 438-384.  

This special session of the UMC, the second largest protestant denomination in the United States, was the resut of a 2018 report of a commission established by the Council of Bishops (COB) to review their Book of Discipline, a fundamental book that outlines the denomination's law, doctrine, and procedures.  

The result of that commission, endorsed by the COB, was called the “One Church Plan” which would have allowed accommodations for same-sex marriage and LGBTIQ clergy. Currently, only celibate LGBTIQ members are permitted to be ordained. 

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, an advocacy community for LGBTIQ individuals with a Seventh-day Adventist connection, has been paying close attention to proceedings of the UMC session. 

Our denominations share many similarities, including the presence of influential conservative groups that strongly oppose affirmation, opportunities, and treatment. This was reflected in the session that featured impassioned and emotionally charged speeches from both sides. 

We want to highlight the words of Rev. Byron Thomas who compared the issue to the church's earlier handling of racial segregation within the denomination. Thomas, in his impassioned speech, quoted the late Bishop Thomas of North Carolina: “In 1939 the UMC was trying to figure out what to do with black people. At that GC…the white folk stood up and clapped and the black folk sat down and cried.” This is another stand-up-and-clap, sit-down-and-cry moment, according to Rev. Thomas. We agree.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” On this day, the 27th day of African-American History Month, we sit down and cry in solidarity with our LGBTIQ friends and allies in the United Methodist Church. Tomorrow, we stand up and continue our work in solidarity and unison to move that arc towards justice for LGBTIQ Christians. 

Justice will come. 


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At the October 2018 Annual Council (#GCAC18), Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders approved a widely debated document that unprecedentedly proposes, among other things, “public reprimand” and “disciplinary measures” that include removal of conference leaders from committees due to matters of what is determined to be “non-compliance.”

We agree with the North American Division of the church that the voted document “does not follow the biblical values proclaimed by the Protestant reformers and the founders of the Adventist Church.”

When SDA Kinship commissioned the creation of its new logo in 2017, "unity in diversity" was a key concept. This is because we firmly believe that our community is stronger when everyone has a seat at the table without fear of being intimidated, silenced, or ostracized. We believe this is also the ideal for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But for our Adventist allies (both individuals and institutions), we fear this is no longer the reality.

With the newly formed Doctrines, Policies, Statements, and Guidelines Regarding Homosexuality Committee (DPSGRH) stacked with anti-LGBTIQ members, the action that was taken on Sunday, October 14, will likely do nothing but further isolate our members from the church and increase the strained relationship felt by many. This is not the church that God envisioned.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, known for its advocacy work on behalf of LGBTIQ Seventh-day Adventists for over 40 years, has one message for President Ted Wilson and the members of the DPSGRH Committee: We exist, we belong, and we will remain steadfast in our fight for (at a minimum) a seat at the table.



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Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International (SDA Kinship) is joining a chorus of LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning) advocacy groups in calling on the Maritime Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to rescind its invitation to Coming Out Ministries, one of the featured presenters at a youth event in Pugwash, N.S., this July.

Here’s Why
While Coming Out Ministries (COM) has been promoted as being representative of LGBTIQ people, oddly, the leaders of this ” ministry” do not identify as LGBTIQ. Instead, they use terms such as “redeemed” to describe their sexual orientation. Their philosophy is predicated entirely on a model that views LGBTIQ people as fundamentally flawed and broken.

COM’s leadership philosophy is shaped by the life experiences of almost entirely older men in their 50s and 60s who came out of the closet at a time when same-sex intimacy was illegal and deeply suppressed. In their presentations, leaders share accounts of their traumatic childhoods, which they believe is responsible for their sexual orientation, directly tying this to their having lived “promiscuous lifestyles,” often “filled with drugs,” and, for one individual, years of male prostitution.

This is not true for all members of the LGBTIQ community; and having COM speak at this youth event would do nothing but reinforce erroneous stereotypes about the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender in the church. SDA Kinship believes that by promoting these voices as representative of the entire experience within the LGBTIQ community, even though they do not currently identify as such, the church is elevating stories that portray all LGBTIQ people as damaged, sex addicts, drug and alcohol abusers, unfaithful in relationships, and utterly lost if they do not follow the same path of these self-identified “redeemed” individuals. This is not only unfortunate; it is dangerous.

History of Adventist Church Promoting Ex-Gay Therapy
While there are a growing number of Adventists in leadership positions who support the LGBTIQ community, most Adventists are not aware that their church funded and widely promoted one of the first “change therapy” programs in the late 1970s and 80s. Colin Cook, an Adventist pastor who had been fired for sexual contact with a male member of his congregation, was by all accounts very charismatic and engaging. He began promoting his own “success” story, claiming that he had “overcome” his sexual orientation; and he convinced the Adventist Church to sponsor his therapy programs at Quest Learning Center in Reading, Pennsylvania, as well as to help underwrite Homosexuals Anonymous, which he co-founded. Cook taught that homosexuality was caused by bad parenting—either an absentee or emotionally unavailable father or an overbearing mother. He felt that everyone was created heterosexual by God and that with therapy people could return to their innate, heterosexual nature. Cook and his programs were widely advertised by the Adventist Church in their publications, including Ministry magazine, which is distributed to a wider audience of Christian pastors. He was even featured in Christianity Today and on the Phil Donahue television program twice. Adventist and other Christian parents began sending their sons to Quest Learning Center in Reading, Pennsylvania, to be “cured," and many gay Adventist men, including closeted pastors, bought his tapes and went to his program’s headquarters in hope of changing their sexual orientation.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, a support and advocacy organization for LGBTIQ Adventists, began to investigate these stories upon hearing “change” stories from supposedly straight men. Dr. Ron Lawson, a sociologist in New York City where Cook had once pastored, took the lead.

Lawson began interviewing many of the men who had been through Cook’s program and quickly realized that none of them had experienced an actual orientation change. They were being told by Cook to testify to then-G.C. president Neal Wilson and other church officials about their “change” with a hope that this is what God would do for them in the future even though the much-desired change had not actually happened.

Lawson also began to uncover stories that showed that Cook was not only fraudulently claiming that gay men in his program had changed their orientation, but he was molesting many of them. He often engaged in nude massage and erotic touching while praying with them, often including mutual masturbation and more. Some of these young men were still teenagers who had been sent to Cook’s program as soon as their parents learned of their sexual orientation.

The Adventist Church quietly withdrew funding and support of this program when unethical (and possibly criminal) behavior came to light; but there were no official retractions or apologies, and the church continued to advocate change therapy. In a 1987 LA Times article on Cook’s programs and transgressions, Adventist church spokesman Robert Dale is quoted as saying that while the church no longer endorsed Cook, “It does intend to ‘redouble’ its efforts to aid individuals who wish to convert from gay to straight.”

Without any widely-published retraction or expose, Cook was able to relocate to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and began another change program; and, in a few years, the same allegations of abuse surfaced.

While the Adventist Church no longer officially funds an ex-gay therapy program like Cook’s destructive and deceitful one in Reading, Pennsylvania, when the church promotes and funds a handful of speakers like those in Coming Out Ministries who promote “healing” and “victory over homosexuality," this damaging ideology persists. LGBTIQ people being told that they too can “overcome” are shamed into also attempting to change if they just pray harder or somehow achieve a better spiritual life. Just a short time listening to the stories of LGBTIQ Adventists will show that many tried this for years, often informal programs promising change, or struggling to attempt this on their own, sobbing into the night as they plead privately with God, redoubling their efforts to change. Every time a church program or family member waves a “success” story in their face of someone claiming” healing,” it makes them feel that much more a failure.

LGBTIQ youth in the church are taught through these presentations to believe that their inner desire for love, companionship, and family is evil and flawed in a way that their heterosexual peers’ desires for love, companionship, and family are not. This is part of the shame, fear, and repression that leads LGBTIQ youth from disapproving families to attempt suicide at eight times the rate of their heterosexual peers.

Moving Forward
One of the first steps that needs to take place is for the church to stop promoting this discredited and dangerous “therapy.” This heteronormative, anti-gay message is contrary to the current scientific consensus on the topic. Continuing to promote these discredited views in the context of the vast amount of research on sexual orientation and gender identity is reckless and disingenuous. We also need to educate the church and its institutions on sexual orientation and gender identity, even if the information we learn is challenging and difficult to integrate into our theology and worldviews. That education needs to come from reputable sources.

The next step would be for the Adventist Church to apologize for this abuse, and to stop promoting so-called “change therapy” with results that are unattainable. Even Alan Chambers, the president of the now-closed Exodus International, which promised for almost 40 years that “change is possible” has apologized for the harm done to tens of thousands of LGBTIQ people and said that “99 percent of people never experience lasting change.”

Most importantly, we need to include the voices of LGBTIQ Adventists. SDA Kinship International has been building a community of inclusion for nearly forty years when the church has remained stunningly silent. When the General Conference can plan an extremely expensive summit on “alternative sexualities” (a term I still do not understand) without inviting a single self-identified LGBTIQ voice to speak, we know we are epitomizing talking “about” people and not “with” them. For any conversation to be valid and credible, it must include our voices.

There is room in the church for reasonable, respectful, and engaged people to come together and dialogue, even if we do not all share the same theological paradigm about God’s blessing of same-sex love and relationships. But in order for a real conversation to happen, we have to stop promoting a negative, singular narrative as the only voice of LGBTIQ Adventists. There is an incredible diversity of voices within this community; there is not a singular narrative. And by continuing to promote a narrative of straight versus gay, it perpetuates a binary that neglects a large segment of the LGBTIQ community. When we continue to use this narrative, we erase bisexual and transgender, intersex, asexual, queer, and many other sexual orientation and gender identities from our conversations. Sexual orientation exists on a spectrum and we must acknowledge this.

The Adventist Church has been guilty of using a single narrative—one of broken, traumatized, promiscuous, damaged LGBTIQ people to enforce the status quo and promote conformity to its current doctrines and policies. The past should teach us not to repeat this failure, and yet we seem to be tempted to promote the one narrative that does not challenge us or open us up to a wider conversation. The solution to the single story? More stories. Stories that include the diversity and richness of the human experience.

All stories matter; but we also must hear the stories of the vast majority of LGBTIQ Adventists, not just the few that uphold preconceived notions. We can and must do better.


July 2017 RE: US President's ban on transgender military

On Wednesday, June 26, 2017, we are disappointed to share that United States President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender military service members, part of a series of tweets that included the line “IN AMERICA WE DON’T WORSHIP GOVERNMENT -- WE WORSHIP GOD.” 

In response, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship, International, is calling on our leaders, political and religious, to return to a sense of compassion and understanding of whom the same God has called them to serve—the least of these, the most vulnerable, and the marginalized. This includes those who are transgender.

Our armed forces and even religious institutions are stronger when they acknowledge and accept the contributions, talents, and gifts of all members of society. Yes. This includes those who are transgender.

We believe that this is more complex than what can fit on a bumper sticker, in a political slogan, or even a tweet; and we encourage our leaders (especially our religious leaders) to use this as an opportunity to listen to the stories of transgender people and to create opportunities for greater dialogue on this subject.

If you belong to the transgender community, including the 15,000 actively serving in the armed forces, we stand with you and will always advocate for you and on your behalf. We believe that your journeys are important and that you should never be discriminated against.

Founded in 1976, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc., is a nonprofit support organization. With members in over 40 countries, Kinship ministers to the spiritual, emotional, social, and physical well-being of current and former Seventh-day Adventists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals and their families and friends.  

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship, International, Inc. 
PO Box 244, Orinda, CA 94563

June 2017 RE: Germany one step closer to marriage equality

On June 30, Germany's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage, joining over 20 countries in their support for equal rights for LGBTIQ citizens by approving gay marriage. The measure will likely be signed into law by the president sometime after July.

In the meantime, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International (SDA Kinship) celebrates this important and affirming step for equality for the German LGBTIQ community.

"I am overjoyed at the news of Parliament voting to make marriage a reality for everyone in Germany,” shares Floyd Poenitz, who is of German heritage and Kinship's Director of International Growth and Development.

Even as we celebrate marriage equality in Germany, we recognize that there are tremendous issues facing the LGBTIQ community worldwide; but we pause today to share in the joy of this victory for human rights.

Tomorrow we continue the fight towards recognizing and honoring the dignity of LGBTIQ citizens across the world with equal rights and protections, starting with people of faith.

Founded in 1976, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc. is a nonprofit support organization. With members in over 40 countries, Kinship ministers to the spiritual, emotional, social, and physical well-being of current and former Seventh-day Adventists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals and their families and friends.

April 2017 RE: Statement on Transgenderism


Kinship Response to Statement on Transgenderism:
Focus on Loving God’s Children

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted a “Statement on Transgenderism” at its regular Spring Meetings. Kinship has reviewed this statement thoroughly and finds that, at a surface-level reading, this document professes love and acceptance for transgender people and includes a call to treat them with “dignity and respect.”

Nonetheless, that does not diminish the genuine harm of this clear declaration: “As long as transgender people are committed to ordering their lives according to the biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage they can be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”  By this, the church has permitted and even encouraged the refusal of membership on the basis of gender identity and sexuality for those who cannot conform.

Ten “biblical principles relating to sexuality and the transgender phenomenon” are listed. No hard data is offered—indeed, none exists biblically—and the statement’s author added his own opinions, guided by religious and cultural norms, to the interpretation of the Scriptures and presented them as fact. The author, again and again, oversimplifies and misuses the biblical texts as grounds for a limited understanding of gender and sexuality. Kinship rejects the underlying message that transgender individuals are more inclined to “biblically inappropriate lifestyle choices” because of their gender identity.

Yeshara Acosta, who identifies as gender non-binary and Adventist, found that the statement shows a tragically deep “lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender and a person of faith, and how the Spirit works.”

Randi Robertson, a transgender Christian who was raised in the Adventist Church, expressed her dismay, saying, “The statement is an affront to my journey of faith and my existence as a child of God.” She recently spoke with senior leadership of the Adventist Church in North America, sharing her experience. This, she says, “feels like a knife to my heart.”

Peta Hay, also a member of the transgender community and Adventist, was equally heartbroken by the statement and wondered, “Why do they not listen to our stories; why do they view us as broken? Isn’t everyone?”

The statement has little or no bearing on the lives of the vast majority of Adventists. Life will go on as normal for them. Yet, Randi shares that “the underlying premise dismisses the reality of my life and that of other transgender people” and “will foster hostility, shaming, and attempts at ‘conversion/reparative therapy.’” She is concerned that it will increase the risks of suicide for young transgender Adventists rejected by their families and their church.

The Bible teaches us not to destroy those for whom Christ died (Romans 14:15). The “Statement on Transgenderism” was written with an us vs. them perspective—negating the very real presence of transgender Adventists in the church today. Kinship President Yolanda Elliott strongly believes that transgender Adventists need church leaders to engage, listen to, and learn from them “so that we can stop the harm.”

Debbie and Kris Widmer, Adventist church members and parents of a transgender daughter, find solace in their belief that in the kingdom of grace, a person is “more important than a policy, a proposition, or even a principle.” Kinship affirms that.

We encourage everyone in the LGBTIQ community—especially our transgender family—to remember this: no statement, vote, position, or proposition can take away from you the depth of your experience, your journey, your truth, and the fact that God loves you just the way you are.

The statement’s author adds, “The Bible commands followers of Christ to love everyone.... Acts of ridicule, abuse, or bullying towards transgender people are incompatible with the biblical commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” On that, we can all agree. We also believe that the church is stronger when it stands with, not against, the “least of these” (Matthew 25). This includes members of the transgender community—as well as the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, and intersex community—and the church is made weaker by not accepting all as children of God, as Christ did.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc. has provided a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists around the world, their families, and those who support them since 1976.

Kinship welcomes the opportunity to share our perspective on issues affecting the LGBTIQ community, specifically related to the intersectionality between it and the Seventh-day Adventist community.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International
PO Box 244, Orinda, CA 94563-0244



March 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

Since Kinship was founded, we have often found ourselves struggling to share our narrative, our stories, of what it means to be both gay and Adventist. Misinformation and confusion spread quickly, and the truth is often slower to be shared.

We strive to present the diversity of experiences, voices, and individuals within the LGBTIQ community as authentically as possible. Our mission, always, has been nothing more and nothing less than to affirm that diversity because of this important truth—everyone is created in the image of God.

February was a busy month! There have been several articles or videos released regarding LGBTIQ Adventists. Some embrace understanding and sharing God’s love, some promote harmful stereotypes about the LGBTIQ community, and some are complicated.

The Pure Choices program on 3ABN’s Dare to Dream Network released three episodes discussing sexuality—specifically same-sex attraction. The Coming Out Ministries founders shared their experiences. These videos reinforce the ideology that gay individuals are part of a “homosexual lifestyle” from which they must be rescued. They repeat the stereotype that severe familial dysfunction causes gender dysphoria and same-gender attraction.

An alternative Adventist news source recently reported that the Chico Adventist Church baptized a married lesbian woman and accepted her into membership in 2016. Ginger Harwood, an advocate for women’s ordination, performed the baptism. The news source made a connection between women’s ordination and “the oncoming homosexual tsunami.”

In response to the stir this article caused, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) released a statement. The NAD affirmed that all are called into a lasting relationship with Christ and noted that “as imitators of Jesus we welcome all people, inviting them into our faith communities and sacrificially serving them.” It was also noted that the conference administrators had met with the local church pastor to “work through the situation.”

Additionally, SONset Friday Entertainment also released a three-part video series on being gay in the Adventist Church. In the first video, founder and president Anthony Hackett sat down with Cameron Burrell to hear his story. Cameron vulnerably shared his struggle to come out, describing it as “feeling caged.” The follow-up videos explore balancing faith and sexuality. The intention was to offer another authentic narrative on life as a gay Christian man.

We were encouraged to see that our allies were not silent during February. Loma Linda University president Richard Hart made waves by offering his perspective on relating to the LGBTIQ community. We applaud him for calling health professionals to “understand, treat, and support everyone whom we encounter.” He acknowledged the progress of research in the scientific community regarding human sexuality and identity.

Pastor Todd Leonard spoke out concerning Journey Interrupted, a film by Coming Out Ministries. Troubled by the film’s role in perpetuating harmful stereotypes about the LGBTIQ community, he recommended that it not be presented to teens and young adults. Kinship president Yolanda Elliott sent Pastor Todd a letter thanking him for publicly sharing his review. She noted a serious concern: “Because the church administration only listens to the voices of the Coming Out Ministries folks, they never hear all the other voices that make up most of the SDA LGBTIQ community. And it gets very old being talked about instead of talked with.”

Kinship remains committed to providing a safe spiritual, and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists around the world. We share the value that the journeys of LGBTIQ Adventists matter in the wider narrative of what it means to be LGBTIQ and Adventist.

We are both heartened and challenged by the growing dialogue surrounding LGBTIQ Adventists. Rather than distance ourselves from the conversation, we encourage each one of us to lean in and engage. Our stories are powerful.

If you belong to this community, our pledge is to stand with you, no matter where you are in your journey, because we believe this truth: Your journey is important, your voice should be heard, and you should never be mistreated or discriminated against because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.

If ever you need someone to talk to, we are here to listen. We are on this journey with you.

SDA Kinship International

November 2016 RE: US Presidential Election


November 2, 2016

Dear friends, 

love trumps hateThe result of last evening’s presidential election is disappointing for many and, most certainly, has left a sense of uncertainty in the hearts and minds of many in the LGBTIQ community as to what it means for us. 

For nearly 40 years, SDA Kinship has been speaking with and on behalf of current and former LGBTIQ Seventh-day Adventists and those who support them. Today, this is clearer than ever before: The opposition is united and this is our chance to stand together. 

We need you now, more than ever, to stand with us. We must be strong together as we build bridges within our communities, especially now that marriage equality, protections in the workplace, and transgender rights are on the line.

Even so, we must still hold on to these truths: that love trumps hate (this is how we respond) and that we are stronger together (yes, we must stand together). 

And so, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., it is our hope that "while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice."

Consider partnering with us today in the fight for justice by donating $5 or more.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship, International, Inc. 
PO Box 244, Orinda, CA 94563-0244 USA 

June 2016 RE: Pulse Nightclub Shooting


ORINDA, CA, June 12, 2016—

Today our hearts are broken hearing of the act of domestic terror on LGBTQ people at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, earlier today. We are holding our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Orlando close in our hearts. We do not yet know if any Kinship members were affected.

Unfortunately, this is another chapter in a long history of violence against queer people in the United States. This senseless violence is almost unimaginable. It is especially heartbreaking that this attack happened during Pride Month. Pride is still relevant because it is a time for us as a community to remember our collective resistance against discrimination and violence. Pride is when we march for our dignity and equal rights, to increase our visibility, and to celebrate our sexual diversity and gender variance. Pride Month is a time for spiritual communities to celebrate a loving God who created LGBTQ people in God’s likeness and image and to see ourselves as beloved children of God.

"Yesterday, Kinship Region 2 marched in the Capital Pride Parade in DC, never dreaming we'd awaken to such devastating news as the heartbreaking tragedy in Orlando, Florida. Doing our part to prevent violence of action or of word means standing against all manner of hate from society, from the pulpit and from families who would discard their sons or daughters for being LGBTQ. Our community and our allies and friends can make a difference against such hate, together" said SDA Kinship International President, Yolanda Elliott.

We pray for an end of violence against LGBTQ people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of this tragedy. We mourn together.




31 October, 2014
On October 8, 2014, Pacific Union College Chaplain Jonathan Henderson gave a presentation on relationships that resonated with many LGBTIQ Adventists. The presentation, entitled “Adam and Steve,” was from PUC’s Fall Revival series, and quickly went viral. The video received upwards of 33,000 views and was viewed in over 138 countries.

The sermon was celebrated by LGBTIQ Adventists and allies alike as it represented a new approach for dialogue on the topic of sexual orientation and gender identity within the church. “Adam and Steve” was celebrated for its tone: humility, love, and inclusion.

On Wednesday, would-be viewers discovered that Henderson’s presentation had been removed from the PUC church website. Spectrum has reported that the college asked staff to remove the content from the church website “due to concerns from legal counsel.” Seventh-Day Adventist Kinship International is very disappointed that Pacific Union College has decided to remove the “Adam and Steve” presentation without explanation. As we have learned in over 40 years of support and advocacy for LGBTIQ Adventists, censorship is unhelpful and silence is potentially life-threatening.

We will continue to support the students of the Intercollegiate Adventist GSA Coalition (IAGC) in wrestling with the issues of faith and sexuality and conducting respectful conversations in their community. We are saddened to hear reports that the college administration has prioritized public relation concerns over the well-being of its student body.

We urge the PUC administration to affirm and support their LGBTIQ students: a very strong step in that direction would be restoring the full Fall Revival series on the PUC church website and hosting a series of conversations about the issues it has raised.

Yolanda Elliott, President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International




July 10, 2014

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship joins with those of many other religious traditions in rejoicing over the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Proposition 8 – which was narrowly approved by voters in 2008 – is unconstitutional. 

Yolanda Elliott, President of Seventh-day Adventist Kinship stated,  “1888 was an important year in Adventist history.  It was also the first year the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a basic civil right.  They have repeated that ruling 14 times for different cases, but again and again, it has been denied to loving, faithful gay or lesbian couples.”

Echoing the words of other religious leaders, Terry Rice, Church Relations director, said, “The Ninth Circuit’s decision affirms same-sex couples’ freedom to commit to caring for each other for a lifetime. Thank God the court recognized government should never limit our freedom nor deny anyone’s love.”

Both Elliott and Rice called upon pastors and leaders across North America to extend a generous pastoral response to the thousands of gays and lesbians in congregations and those who have been chased from congregations by well-meaning individuals.  Now is a time to show the love of Christ to all the members of our church family.

Kinship agrees with the statement released by “Adventists Against Prop 8”:

“This is a decision that all Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to religious liberty and the gospel of Jesus Christ can celebrate. It points out unjust and immoral discrimination by its right name. It sets the nation further in the trajectory of recognizing full equality for gays and lesbians in all areas of life. This decision affirms the truth that the moral arc of the universe indeed bends toward justice.”

“We concur with the majority decision which said, in part…

'Although the Constitution permits communities to enact laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 should have been enacted. … Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort. –Judge Stephen Reinhardt, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit'”




The worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church is planning a large, international summit on homosexuality and so-called “alternative sexualities” this month in Cape Town, South Africa. The summit includes four days of sessions discussing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, but organizers aren’t allowing any of the estimated one million LGBTI Adventists to share their stories except for three speakers who describe themselves as ex-gay. These speakers will reinforce the common and inaccurate stereotype that all LGBTI people lead broken, addictive, and wildly promiscuous lives and have been “turned gay” by abuse or neglect.

The summit, titled “In God's Image: Scripture, Sexuality, and Society,” will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, March 17-20, 2014. The keynote speaker is the head of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, President Ted N. C. Wilson. All divisions of the worldwide church are required to send their top administrators and family ministries personnel as delegates. Attendance is by invite only, and LGBTI Adventists are not invited.

Presenters and program can be found at

Break-out session topics show the summit’s anti-LGBTI bias. For example, a church physician will present on “Alternative Sexualities: A Disorder or a Choice?”; another session on “conversion/reparative therapy” will be hosted by the editor of the book Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Church, which promotes “conversion therapy” as a viable option for LGBTI individuals. Other break-out sessions are listed on the summit website:

The only “gay” voices allowed throughout this summit come from three people who now profess to be either heterosexual or zealously celibate, and who head “ministries” in which they give professional testimonials at conservative churches and conferences like this one. Two of these speakers, Ron Woolsey and Wayne Blakely, blame their homosexuality on absent, neglectful, abusive parents.

Wayne Blakely, the Adventist church’s current poster boy for celibacy (“holiness, not homosexuality,” he says) is almost 60 years old. He has told audiences that his mother wanted a girl and abused him physically. At 18, he left the Adventist church when someone told him gays weren't welcome. He entered a life of total promiscuity, drugs, and addiction, including male prostitution: a very broken life whatever his orientation. Six months after he came back to the church—as a celibate man, he said—he was promoted as the “transformed gay” in Adventist conferences and on the cover of church magazines. In the last 5 years, he has also been sent to churches in Kenya and other African countries to speak. Wayne confirms the inaccurate stereotype that dominates conservative churches—that LGBTI people, especially gay men, live very unhealthy, sex-addicted, and damaged lives.

As the recent Ugandan and Nigerian laws show, LGBTI people in many parts of Africa face severe discrimination and threats to life and liberty. At the same time, the Adventist church has done little to distance itself from extreme legislation that threatens the safety of LGBTI church members and their families.

Ron Woolsey, another featured speaker, wrote a book under the pen name “Victor J. Adamson” titled, “That Kind Can Never Change, Can They?” He identifies as a “former/ex-homosexual,” has been married to a woman for over 20 years, and has children and grandchildren. He also shares stories of abuse and blames this abuse for confusing his childhood sexuality. Woolsey argues that his behavior matters more than his orientation, and preaches that if Jesus was tempted in every way we are and same-sex attraction is a temptation, then Jesus was also “tempted” by same-sex intimacy. He finds this belief comforting.

Virna Santos also describes herself as ex-gay and blames a very dysfunctional family for her homosexuality. She recommends “transformation” with a more gentle tone than Wayne or Ron.

No other LGBTI Adventist voice is being allowed to address church delegates, even though one of the summit’s named objectives is to learn how to  “minister” more to this demographic. This conference epitomizes talking at and about a group of people but not with them. It also precedes the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s 60th General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, July 2015. The denomination is expected to reinforce its doctrines on gender and sexuality during General Conference meetings next year.

Response from LGBTI Adventists

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, a support and resource organization for LGBTI Adventists since 1976, has issued a response to its members’ voices being entirely excluded from this summit:

“The Adventist Church's Denial is Deadly to African LGBTI People”’s-denial-deadly-african-lgbti-people

A key quote from this article: “Being silent in the face of oppression is complicity. Excluding key voices and perpetuating harmful stereotypes isn’t dialogue, and in the context of the extreme anti-LGBTI legislation just signed into law, it’s dangerous.” —Yolanda Elliott, president of SDA Kinship International.

A February 13, 2014, letter was written to the leadership of the Adventist church and the head of this summit:

A key quote from this letter: “If, as you say, you wish to gain a greater understanding of our sexualities and gender identities, families, employment concerns, pastoral needs, and spiritual lives, please allow us to participate in this conference. What we have to say is important, and no one knows our stories better than we do.” —Yolanda Elliott, president of SDA Kinship International

No reply has been received to date.


Pastor Dave Ferguson
Director of Church Relations
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International,



Below is a letter from SDA Kinship to the delegates or attendees of the conference along with the letter we sent to Elders Wilson and Mwansa.

Dear Friends,

1654189 10151882301397024 994401419 nAs you may know, the General Conference is sponsoring a Summit in South Africa next month about what they call "alternative sexualities." Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, an organization that has worked with and for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) current and former Seventh-day Adventists, their families, friends, and pastors for 40 years, was not invited. The Kinship board recently sent the letter below to Elders Wilson and Mwansa. It is important at a conference where church policy makers will be informed, that more than one perspective on sexuality and gender is represented. We wanted you to know that Kinship has offered to share with the wider church its four decades of experience with LGBTI people in more than 80 countries around the world.

At the very least, we would like to see our church take a firm stand against demonization of our members and the resulting violation of basic human rights that inevitably follows. The incredible violence directed toward LGBTI people in most parts of Africa and in Russia is a prime example of this unChristlike approach. It is also our sincere hope that our church will speak out against the emotional and spiritual violence that most of our members and their families have endured. The withdrawal of hope and the lack of viable options presented by our church has caused many of our members to take their own lives or to leave the church they loved. It is our deepest wish that regardless of differing theologies regarding sexual minorities, the Seventh-day Adventist Church can truly become a safe place where ALL people responding to the love of Christ can grow in their relationship with God.

We pray that the Holy Spirit that continues Jesus’ ministry on earth will guide you as a Summit participant and that God grants you safe travel to Cape Town and back home.  

If you have questions about this letter or about the upcoming conference, please contact Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations ( or Yolanda Elliott, President (

Yolanda Elliott, President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

February 13, 2014

Dear Elders Ted Wilson and Pardon Mwansa:

We have learned that you will convene a conference on “alternative sexualities” in Cape Town, South Africa,  March 17-20, 2014 ( According to the conference site, you intend to “have a conversation with key people in the global leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to gain a greater understanding of the issues surrounding alternative sexualities, and to counsel together regarding the challenges the church is facing in this area, in order to find a way to be redemptive as well as obedient to the teachings of Scripture in a more consistent manner around the world.”

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International has worked with and for Seventh-day Adventist lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people around the world for nearly 40 years, yet no representatives of Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International were informed of or invited to this meeting. We strongly and respectfully object.

It is not appropriate that the Seventh-day Adventist denomination continues to hold official conferences about Seventh-day Adventist lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people without allowing a range of us to be present, participate, or speak. It’s incomprehensible that our church would discuss us as an issue, “counselling together” on what church policy should say about us and how our pastors and teachers should minister to us, without ever consulting with us. When we are not invited to our denomination’s table, we all-too-easily become its meal. This is not acceptable.

We note that the denomination is sponsoring the vocal participation of individuals from Coming Out Ministries (Know His Love, The Narrow Way, By Beholding His Love). These “ex-gay” individuals (“ex-gay” is the term some use for themselves) do not speak for the thousands of SDA Kinship members in more than 80 countries around the world or our supportive relatives and friends. Their stories are not our stories; they do not speak for us, and they cannot provide the full or current perspective your committee seeks. We strongly suggest that you include SDA Kinship representatives in the upcoming conversation.

Many SDA Kinship members continue to attend Adventist congregations and are tied to the church by their deeply held faith. Others, demonized by Adventist-sponsored ministries such as the Quest Learning Center and one-sided conferences such as Gays In the Family, have left the denomination, and the loss of their energy and gifts is a denominational loss. If, as you say, you wish to gain a greater understanding of our sexualities and gender identities, families, employment concerns, pastoral needs, and spiritual lives, please allow us to participate in this conference. What we have to say is important, and no one knows our stories better than we do.

Therefore, I respectfully request the following:


We are part of the Seventh-day Adventist community and wish to represent a crucial church membership segment that is not represented at this conference and will not be heard or spoken for without us. For the sake of the church and our members, we would like to respectfully join this important dialogue. We will encourage Kinship members worldwide to join Janet Page’s prayer team in inviting the Holy Spirit to guide you during the conference and as Elder Mwansa’s committee deliberates.

It is very interesting that the denomination chose to host this conference on a continent where violently anti-LGBTI legislation was promoted by loud “Christian” North American voices and where LGBTI individuals are currently being tortured, jailed, and even executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex. We hope that this backdrop will not overshadow the conference, that conference attendees will note South Africa’s constitutional protections for LGBTI people, and that the conversation will include more perspectives of being in God’s image than it does today.

I look forward to hearing from you and receiving invitations for our representatives to participate. We would, of course, like to confirm our travel plans without further delay.

May God continue to bless you.


Yolanda Elliott, President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

January 2014 RE: Uganda passes Anti-Homosexuality Bill



On 20 December 2013 the Ugandan Parliament passed a modified version of the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which promotes hatred and discrimination against those who are or are believed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI). We find this law utterly reprehensible, especially in the global climate that exists with several countries passing similar laws that are solely aimed at targeting the LGBTI community.

One reason we felt prompted to make a statement is because of the Seventh-day Adventist church’s reported official involvement.  In late 2012, the East-Central African Division President, Blasious Ruguri, reportedly supported this law when it contained a provision that would put LGBTI Ugandans to death in certain circumstances. We have Kinship members in Uganda and it is important for them to know that they're not facing these new laws on their own.  

We call upon church leaders to denounce these laws wherever they appear, and to affirm basic human rights and freedom.

January 5, 2014

Ted Wilson, President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904

Dear Elder Wilson;

On 20 December 2013 the Ugandan Parliament passed a modified version of the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which promotes hatred and discrimination against those who are or are believed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI).

When the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was first introduced by MP David Bahati in 2009, it prescribed the death penalty for so-called "aggravated homosexuality," that is, if one party was HIV-positive or if a liaison involved a minor. By conflating homosexuality with disease transmission and pedophilia, this law directly undermines legitimate public health initiatives in Uganda. Now the bill has passed, people in Uganda who are or are believed to be LGBT are subject to 14 years in prison for a first “offense” or imprisonment for life.

As we wrote in December 2012, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International finds this law reprehensible. The legislation violates fundamental human rights, is a vehicle for discrimination, and is contrary to the character of Jesus Christ and the value system that our church promotes. We are each part of the diverse human family, and God calls us to love one another, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That includes loving our LGBTI neighbors, not scapegoating them, ostracizing them, or imprisoning them for consensual relationships.

Regardless of the church’s stance on human sexuality and gender roles, we believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church should never actively or passively promote the violation of basic human rights. The Seventh-day Adventist church has an obligation to its Ugandan members to strongly, clearly state that it does not support this law or the abusive, violent rhetoric that puts thousands of Ugandans in jeopardy.

We are also disappointed that the leader of the church in Uganda failed to disavow the revised law when it was reintroduced last session. In 2012, Pastor Blasious Ruguri, East-Central African Division President and vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist church, reportedly made the following statement against LGBT Ugandans at a public meeting at the Mbarara SDA Church, Southwestern Uganda Field:

“Our stand is ‘zero tolerance’ to this vice and to western influence on this crucial issue because God says no to it. We are together with the President and the Speaker and we fully support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I call upon all religious ministers, all Ugandans, and all Africans to say no to Homosexuality. Let us stand for our sovereignty as Ugandans and as God fearing people even [though] the heavens fall.” (emphasis supplied)

Ugandan politicians were present at this meeting.

Shortly after Ugandan paper New Vision reported Ruguri’s comments, the General Conference claimed that New Vision misquoted Ruguri’s “intentions”. If that were true, his comments also misled The Daily Monitor, which quoted him making similar remarks.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International calls upon the East-Central African Division and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to oppose this law and urge Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to rescind this bill and affirm the human dignity, liberty, equality, and non-discrimination of all Ugandans. We appeal for similar statements in favor of human liberty from our church representatives in Nigeria and in Russia, and in India.

With Christian love,

Yolanda Elliott, President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

cc:  Garrett Caldwell, Public Relations Director  — General Conference
      Delbert W. Baker, Vice President — General Conference
      Lowel C. Cooper, Vice President — General Conference
      Geoffrey G Mbwana, Vice President — General Conference
      Armando Miranda, Vice President — General Conference
      Pardon K. Mwansa, Vice President — General Conference
      Benjamin Schoun, Vice President — General Conference
      Ella S. Simons, Vice President — General Conference
      Artur A Stele, Vice President — General Conference
      G. T. Ng, Secretary — General Conference
      Robert E. Lemon, Treasurer — General Conference
      Blasious M. Ruguri, President — East-Central Africa Division
      Nathaniel M. Walemba, Secretary — East-Central Africa Division
      Jerome Habimana, Treasurer — East-Central Africa Division
      Steven Bina, Region Director — East-Central Africa Division
      Bruno R. Vertallier, President — Euro-Africa Division
      Gabriel E. Maurer, Secretary — Euro-Africa Division
      Norbert Zens, Treasurer — Euro-Africa Division
      Guillermo E. Biaggi, President — Euro-Asia Division
      Volodymyr A. Krupski, Secretary — Euro-Asia Division
      Brent B Burdick, Treasurer — Euro-Asia Division
      Isreal Leito, President — Inter-American Division
      Elie Henry, Secretary — Inter-American Division
      Filberto M. Verdusco-Avila, Treasurer — Inter-American Division
      Daniel R. Jackson, President — North American Division
      G. Alexander Bryant, Secretary — North American Division
      G. Thomas Evans, Treasurer — North American Division
      Jairyong Lee, President — Northern Asia-Pacific Division
      Akeri Suzuki, Secretary — Northern Asia-Pacific Division
      Kenneth W. Osborn, Treasurer — Northern Asia-Pacific Division
      Erton Carlos Kohler, President — South American Division
      Magdiel Perez Schulz, Secretary — South American Division
      Marlon de Souza Lopes, Treasurer — South American Division
      Barry D. Oliver, President — South Pacific Division
      Lawrence P. Tanabose, Secretary — South Pacific Division
      Rodney G. Brady, Treasurer — South Pacific Division
      Paul S. Ratsara, President — Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division
      Solomon Maphosa, Secretary — Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division
      Goodwell Nthani, Treasurer — Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division
      John Rathinaraj, President — Southern Asia Division 
      Gordon E. Christo, Secretary — Southern Asia Division
      G. S. Robert Clive, Treasurer — Southern Asia Division
      Alberto C. Gulfan Jr, President — Southern Asia-Pacific Division
      Saw Samuel, Secretary — Southern Asia-Pacific Division
      Sergie Ferrer, Treasurer — Southern Asia-Pacific Division
      Bertil A. Wiklander, President — Trans-European Division
      Audrey Andersson, Secretary — Trans-European Division
      Johann E Johannsson, Treasurer — Trans-European Division
      Gilbert Wari, President — West-Central Africa Division
      Onaolapo Ajibade, Secretary — West-Central Africa Division
      Emmanuel S. D. Manu, Treasurer — West-Central Africa Division



On 20 December 2013 the Ugandan Parliament passed a modified version of the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which promotes hatred and discrimination against those who are or are believed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI).

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni strengthened Africa’s antigay movement on Monday by signing the bill his Parliament passed in late 2013. Nigeria took a similar approach in passing harsh legislation aimed at targeting LGBTI individuals earlier this month.

As we wrote in December 2012, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International finds this law reprehensible. The legislation violates fundamental human rights, is a vehicle for discrimination, and is contrary to the character of Jesus Christ and the value system that our church promotes. We are each part of the diverse human family, and God calls us to love one another, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That includes loving our LGBTI neighbors, not scapegoating them, ostracizing them, or imprisoning them for consensual, loving relationships.

Regardless of the church’s stance on human sexuality and gender roles, we believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church should never actively or passively promote the violation of basic human rights. The Seventh-day Adventist church has an obligation to its Ugandan members to strongly, clearly state that it does not support this law or the abusive, violent rhetoric that puts thousands of Ugandans in jeopardy. It is not enough for the General Conference to state the church's position of being "strongly opposed to acts of violence, hatred, and discrimination against a person because of his or her sexual orientation." What is the church going to do to advocate for and protect its members in Uganda and Nigeria? The law provides imprisonment for any family member or pastor who does not report someone they believe to be LGBT.  Is this really the way we want to portray the Adventist family and pastoral ministry?

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International calls upon the East-Central African Division and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to not only oppose this law; but we urge the church to affirm the human dignity, liberty, equality, and non-discrimination of all Ugandans by publicly advocating for the safety of those put at risk by this outrageous law and by taking specific actions to provide physical protection for individuals where it may be needed. We appeal for similar action in favor of human liberty from our church representatives in NigeriaRussia, and India.

With Christian love,

Yolanda Elliott, President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

December 2013 RE: Firing of Pastor Brett Hadley


Recently a beloved pastor and Bible teacher at Highland View Academy was fired for performing the same-sex marriage of his daughter.  Kinship responded by sending the following letter to church administrators involved with the decision.

December 5, 2013

Dear Principal Snider,

I'm writing because my heart, as a retired pastor, cries when I learn of situations such as the one at Highland View Academy involving Pastor Brett Hadley. My understanding is that he's been fired because he participated in his daughter's marriage to her same-sex partner. I would love to have you correct me, if I'm wrong.  Seventh-day Adventist Kinship feels a special connection to Highland View Academy since our president, Yolanda Elliott, is a 1975 alumnus.

It is my understanding that Pastor Hadley's theological convictions about same-sex relationships do not differ from the official Adventist position. He simply believes in unconditional love. He is being a father, even if he does not fully agree with his daughter. While I'm sure some will see it differently, it appears that the conflict here is between a father's love, based on his understanding of Adventist family values, and making sure that all employees adhere to the current church position regarding homosexuality.

As a former pastor who focused on youth and young adults, I have seen an increasing number of our members leave the Church because they believe it is more interested in upholding a position than in caring for and loving members of the church family. I believe that concept is reinforced when such actions are taken against a beloved pastor and spiritual leader on the campus, whose only transgression is love.

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship has provided a “city of refuge” for many LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) who are current and former Adventists and their families, who have been made to feel unwelcome in their churches and schools. Although not being viewed favorably by the Church, Kinship feels a strong sense of mission to follow the example of Jesus in ministering to those who have been marginalized because of a sexual orientation they did not choose, and we appreciate the family members who support them as allies. I hope and pray that someday soon my Church will be willing to have a conversation with God's children who have a different orientation or gender identity.

While some continue to question my faith and loyalty to the Church simply because of my sexual orientation, I don't question that you and others are seeking to do what is best. I would just request that you join me in prayer that the lives of the young people at Highland View Academy will continue to have a higher priority than political pressure and public perceptions of being “too easy” on sin. Jesus, in his leadership, was continually expanding our human understanding of God's love and grace, especially in the face of the religious authorities of His day who had deemed certain groups of people as “outsiders” and “unworthy.” Showing up to love each other unconditionally seems like the very epitome of what Jesus said we'd be known for. This is what I see as the goal for every pastor and church administrator.

With Christian love,

Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

A response by Kinship's President, Yolanda Elliott.

Dear Pastor Remmers: 

 I graduated from Highland View Academy in 1975. I still live in Maryland and so attend class reunions whenever I can. Some of my longest friendships are those I made in academy and many of my positive childhood memories are from my time in the Mt. Aetna area. 

The news about Pastor Hadley's administrative leave and resignation has deeply saddened me, not only for the Hadley family and the students Pastor Hadley taught but also for the wider HVA family including alumni like me. 

I'm baffled and disappointed by how your administration has responded to a father participating in his daughter's wedding. What did you hope would be accomplished by disciplining Pastor Hadley in this way? Every account I've read says that the event was non-religious and Pastor Hadley shared stories about his daughter with the guests—as any loving father would have. 

I know that the academy has always aimed to provide a quality Seventh-day Adventist and Christian education for the students who attend, so I do not understand how punishing Pastor Hadley and his family supports that aim. I don't think anyone's confused about what the church thinks of LGBT people or same-sex marriages. Everyone knows what the church thinks and how the church's teachings make being part of Adventism extremely difficult for the LGBT people who are members and for their relatives. Young people like the students watching this case unfold are leaving the church because they see no compassion in how the church responds to people. I've fought to stay myself because it is my church too. My God is compassionate even when the church is not. 

In Message magazine last year, GC Family Ministries director Willie Oliver responded to a member asking whether a Seventh-day Adventist Christian should attend his relative's same-sex wedding. Pastor Oliver didn't contradict or undermine the church's teachings when he wrote that "this is a dilemma each person will have to answer individually" (Romans 14). We can't expect to grow with each other when we trample on each others' relationships. We can't be light or salt when we fail to act with love.

The bottom line of our faith is love to God and love to man, and as I learned back at HVA, the core of the Golden Rule is compassion. When we show compassion for our family members, even when we disagree with them, that's our chance to show others the love of Christ. Pastor Hadley came to a different conviction than some of his colleagues and relatives might have, but it was the conviction of a father and it was compassionate. 

I will be praying for you and the administrators at HVA. I'll also be praying for our church, that it will learn the meaning of the compassion it claims to have for LGBT people and their families. 

Yolanda Elliott
Clarksville, MD

HVA Class of 1975



by Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations

The statements Pope Francis made this week show his pastoral wisdom.  While he expresses support for his church’s doctrines, he also shows a pastor's compassion in desiring the good of all of the members of the faith, and seems to open the door to an understanding of truth that meets the needs of people and changes over time. Of course, there are numerous denominations and faith communities, and Christians have many ways of interpreting and expressing our understanding of what scripture teaches.  Beyond and above interpretation, however, is the call to learn to love all of God’s children and treat them with dignity.  

Pope Francis has shown that it is possible for a church to hold to its tenets while still dialoguing with and showing compassion for everyone, even those who do not agree theologically.  This is one of the great challenges of our time: to love those who are different from us whatever their difference—physical, cultural, racial, political, religious, or based on gender or orientation. Those in the Christian community and those who are alienated from it because of the harm it has caused also share in this challenge.  It would be wonderful if Pope Francis' approach helped to spark in all of us a new spirit of compassion and a willingness to listen respectfully to the stories of those who see things differently than we do. 

The SDA Kinship community includes some current and former Roman Catholics and the pope's statements have resonated for these members in a unique way. Like the pope, we desire the good of all of God's children whatever their religious affiliation, and we'll continue to share our community's stories of wholeness and love as we support one another.

June 2013 RE: Closure of Exodus International


Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International joins with other organizations and denominational affinity groups in welcoming the closure of Exodus International. We also accept Exodus president Alan Chambers’ sincere apology for the hurt, destruction, and suffering that Exodus and its affiliates have inflicted on LGBTI people and their parents, families, and churches. 

Exodus was founded the same year as SDA Kinship, but Exodus taught LGBTI individuals and their families that they were damaged goods and needed fixing. Our experience has instead shown that LGBTI people aren’t broken and that orientation “repair” is an unnecessary harm. We appreciate Alan’s apology for promoting harm and hurting people who came to Exodus for help.

Like those who suffered under Homosexuals Anonymous and Colin Cook’s Quest Learning Center, both funded and promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, thousands of gay people and their parents have been affected by Exodus International and the orientation repression, suppression, and repair groups it supported. We are happy to hear Alan turning away from these therapies and the heartache, self-hatred, and family harms they cause.

We share Alan’s concern for the tone of the Christian community’s conversation about sexuality and gender. We also care about its content. Alan has stated that his organization’s beliefs “have not changed.” SDA Kinship cannot agree that closing Exodus and opening a new group founded on the old teachings of brokenness is the best way forward. We encourage Alan to work now with those who worked for many years to change the climate in the Church and made it possible for him to take these steps this week.

SDA Kinship will continue to walk with the Church as it learns to accurately represent and fully include LGBTI members, respecting their dignity, families, and spiritual gifts. Although the Exodus Global Alliance continues the work that Exodus International has stopped, we look forward to the day when no church or organization marginalizes, oppresses, excludes, demeans, or attempts to “cure” LGBTI people. As God loves us without reservation, so we must love others and ourselves. We will continue to speak up around the world for God’s love and good work in our lives as long as we have voice. 

December 2012 RE: Uganda Situation


December 19, 2012

Ted N. C. Wilson, President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Springs, MD 20904-6600

Garrett Caldwell, Public Relations Director
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Springs, MD 20904-6600

Dear Elder Wilson and Elder Caldwell:

East-Central African Division President Pr. Blasious Ruguri recently made the following statement against Ugandan homosexuals at a public meeting at Mbarara SDA Church, South-western Uganda Field:

“Our stand is ‘zero tolerance’ to this vice and to western influence on this crucial issue because God says no to it. We are together with the President and the Speaker and we fully support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I call upon all religious ministers, all Ugandans, and all Africans to say no to Homosexuality. Let us stand for our sovereignty as Ugandans and as God fearing people even [though] the heavens fall.”[1]

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International is appalled by the pastor’s use of Ellen White to appeal to common anti-gay and xenophobic sentiment, especially because of the hostile climate Ugandan politicians and allied church leaders have been stoking across the country. This fall, Ugandan lawmakers reintroduced the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” first proposed in 2009. This law uses the force of the state to undermine the freedom of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Ugandans,  those “suspected” of being as LGBT, their family members, and any educators thought to be “promoting” the equality of LGBT people.

We’re disappointed that the church’s discussion of compassion at Annual Council this October did not constrain the division leader as he spoke to the Mbarara congregation, regional politicians, and members of parliament. Pr. Ruguri attended Annual Council this year and so heard the church accepting its Christ-given responsibility to offer “caring ministry and words of solace” because “all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are loved by God.”[2]

Pr. Ruguri is also a board member of the church’s International Religious Liberty Association, but his recent statement does not express care for the many SDA members in Uganda and Africa who aren’t heterosexual or respect for their religious liberty or human rights. Through Pr. Ruguri’s statements and the Adventist church’s continued membership in the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, the church is now justifying the prosecution, imprisonment, and potential execution of Ugandan LGBT people and their families.

As Adventists, and regardless of the church’s statements on human sexuality, we believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church should never stand for the violation of basic human rights. The recent End It Now campaign is just the latest example of our church’s track record of standing against violence and abuse. Because of that track record, we do not accept that one of the church’s top-ranking leaders can support legalized violence against a minority group or use the pulpits and authority of the worldwide church to do so.

On its own website, the church affirms the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its firm stand “for human dignity, liberty, equality, and non-discrimination of minorities.”[3] The Seventh-day Adventist church has an obligation to strongly and clearly state that it does not support the rhetoric or lobbying of anyone who has promoted putting the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of members, in jeopardy. 

Our members in Uganda and other parts of the world now look to you to respond in a Christ-like way to these threats to their life, liberty, and security of person, given Pr. Ruguri’s recent statements in the church’s name.


Yolanda Elliott, President
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

[1] Ellen White. (1952). Education, p. 57. | Fred Turyakira. (December 17, 2012). Uganda: Church Speaks Out on Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from

[2] Edwin Manuel Garcia / ANN. (October 17, 2012). Church’s view on gays, lesbians adjusted to emphasize “compassion.” Retrieved December 19, 2012, from

[3] General Conference Administrative Committee. (November 17, 1998). Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from  Full text of UN Declaration:


October 15, 1991-Press Release